O'Ward gets maiden IndyCar win at Texas, earns McLaren F1 test - The Race
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O’Ward gets maiden IndyCar win at Texas, earns McLaren F1 test

May 3 2021
By Jack Benyon

Pato O’Ward gave the Arrow McLaren SP team its first victory as a collective, and is set to earn a Formula 1 test with McLaren later this year after winning the second IndyCar race of the weekend at Texas.

Just before the season began AMSP released a video where McLaren boss Zak Brown promised O’Ward a test after Abu Dhabi in F1 if he took the first IndyCar win of his career in 2021.

A huge crash before the field even got to green wiped out six cars from the running instantly. What seemed like slow pace at the front caused a concertina effect at the back of the field, with Pietro Fittipaldi clipping Sebastien Bourdais into a spin.

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Conor Daly was catapulted into the air and ran on the car’s roof before falling upright, while Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones and Dalton Kellett were also involved. James Hinchcliffe looked to have escaped but retired later in the race and Tony Kanaan took on damage which hindered his race.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon dominated the early running with team-mate Alex Palou closely in tow as they dropped the chasing pack.

Early on that pack had been headed by Jack Harvey – but the Meyer Shank Racing driver appeared to suffer the same issue as Andretti stable-mate Colton Herta in race one of the weekend, with a blown bearing on the right-rear wheel.

That caused a caution on lap 116/248, which neutralised the field, and all of the leaders pitted, making it a one-stop race with heavy fuel saving.

Palou was the big loser in this round of stops as he dropped four spots from second and then was passed by Simon Pagenaud on the restart to fall to eighth.

O’Ward – who displayed plenty of aggression and fast hands making moves in the race – and Graham Rahal came to the fore after that second caution for Harvey’s woe, and Rahal took over the lead before handing it back to Dixon as he had to switch to a snail’s pace compared to normal due to the fuel saving.

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Such was the complexity up front of whether to lead and how hard to push, six-time champion Dixon asked his crew for “any wisdom, guys?”.

At the last pitstops held under green flag conditions, Dixon and Rahal pitted nose to tail and on their out-laps, Rahal got a run and passed Dixon for the lead. However, O’Ward jumped both as he pitted a lap later and got ahead.

Unfortunately for O’Ward though, his team-mate Felix Rosenqvist had yet another decent result – this time a top 10 – fall through his fingers as his right rear wheel came off after the final stop.

The wheel ran across the race track and brought out a caution, shuffling Josef Newgarden to the lead with some epic strategy by Penske’s Tim Cindric.

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Fifth-place Newgarden had stayed out longer than the cars ahead and was second only behind Takuma Sato on the restart, who was on a different strategy and pointlessly elected not to pit under the caution.

Newgarden dived by Sato with a hair-raising move at Turn 1 around the outside to secure the lead with 47 laps to go, as drivers got aggressive without the need to save fuel.

O’Ward kept within arm’s reach of Newgarden but made his intentions known with ferocity as the race reached 25 laps to go.

He had to back out of a move around the outside of Turn 1 but then dove to the inside to take the lead at Turn 3 on the same lap.

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AMSP managing director Taylor Kiel had told O’Ward on the radio that Newgarden had slowed at the end of stints and it rang true as O’Ward put the gap beyond all doubt driving away from the two-time IndyCar champion.

O’Ward is the fourth different winner in 2021 and the second first-time winner after Palou at Barber. It was also Chevrolet’s first win of the season.

Rahal (above, #15) couldn’t keep Newgarden’s pace and had to settle for third after a rollercoaster start to the season for him, while race one winner Dixon was also stuck in position after the final caution and took fourth.

Herta rounded out the top five with an under-the-radar but excellent recovery drive after his Saturday issues.

Simon Pagenaud was part of drama on that last restart as Herta dove to the inside of him. As Pagenaud moved up the track he cut off Power who edged up into the wall and dropped to 13th at the finish.

For the second race in a row pitstops dropped Palou out of second place and he took seventh, but is still third in the points.

Saturday standout runner-up Scott McLaughlin took eighth ahead of Rinus VeeKay and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 25 2h6m31.115s 24.05s 16 51
2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 25 +1.244s 24.132s 16 41
3 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 13 +5.645s 24.005s 16 36
4 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 163 +6.039s 24.011s 16 35
5 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +6.378s 24.068s 16 30
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 0 +7.009s 23.969s 16 28
7 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 3 +8.369s 23.85s 16 27
8 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 0 +11.893s 24.195s 16 24
9 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 5 +12.721s 24.106s 17 23
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +14.593s 24.165s 17 20
11 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 1 +15.318s 24.098s 16 20
12 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 248 0 +16.074s 23.88s 18 18
13 Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 248 1 +17.814s 24.054s 16 18
14 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 247 12 +1 lap 23.963s 17 17
15 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 246 0 +2 laps 24.043s 17 15
16 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 246 0 +2 laps 23.898s 19 14
Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara DW12-Honda 115 0 DNF 24.04s 15 13
James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 30 0 DNF 25.051s 16 12
Sébastien Bourdais A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 0 0 DNF 0s 0 11
Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12-Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 10
Pietro Fittipaldi Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Dallara DW12-Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 9
Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Dallara DW12-Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 8
Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 0 0 DNF 0s 0 7
Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara DW12-Chevrolet 0 0 DNF 0s 0 6

Driver Standings

Pos Driver Team Points R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 153 35 30 53 35 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 131 34 11 35 51 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 127 53 14 33 27 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Josef Newgarden Team Penske 116 7 40 28 41 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 107 26 15 30 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 102 18 36 20 28 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport 100 8 54 8 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Will Power Team Penske 99 41 24 16 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske 99 16 19 40 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing 90 19 32 26 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
11 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 84 17 28 22 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing 84 29 22 10 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
13 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing 79 24 26 11 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 Sébastien Bourdais A.J. Foyt Enterprises 68 31 20 6 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport 65 22 9 24 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP 58 9 18 17 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 56 6 16 14 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
18 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan 51 15 10 18 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
19 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport 44 13 12 7 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
20 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing 43 14 14 9 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
21 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises 38 12 7 12 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
22 Romain Grosjean Dale Coyne Racing with RWR 37 20 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
23 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing 34 0 0 19 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
24 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 33 0 0 13 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
25 Pietro Fittipaldi Dale Coyne Racing with RWR 24 0 0 15 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
26 Jimmie Johnson Chip Ganassi Racing 19 11 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
27 Max Chilton Carlin 16 10 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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